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There’s a classic Italian song called “Torna a Surriento” which speaks of the beauty and serenity of Sorrento in Italy. That’s what Kia have most recently done by returning to the Sorento. Their entire range has gotten a makeover for 2021 and the Sorento is next in line. So what makes this new one worth returning to? 

Kia Sorento badge
The Sorento now has a premium feel both inside and out

This new Sorento marks the fourth generation of Kia’s large flagship SUV and my word what a ‘glow up’ it has had. From a boring black plasticky SUV in the early noughties to this European rivaling chrome covered flagship! The Sorento is now a lot easier on the eye with the Telluride inspired tidbits fitting in nicely. The front uses a sharp looking grille with a prominent Kia badge in the middle, that three letter badge has of course become very desirable of late with Kia pumping out some astonishingly good stuff. The windows are outlined in chrome and the shiny alloys add to the premium look of the car. At the back, Sorento is now spelt out for you so you won’t confuse it with Sorrento as in the Italian town.

Kia Sorento rear
Telluride inspired tailights

The taillights are taken from the Telluride, no complaints there as it was the North American car of the year for 2020! Fun fact, the tailgate is not a kicker but instead it will sense you approaching the car with the key and open automatically. A cool feature but a little hard to get working at times. Though kicker tailgates are not much easier to use either.

Leather covered interior of the Kia Sorento
Lots of leather in this cabin!

The interior reflects the same upmarket quality as the exterior. Plenty of soft nappa leather covers the seats and steering wheel. Ah, the smell of fresh leather. Both front seats are electric with heating and cooling along with the rear seats which are also heated.

The plastics are all soft and cabin refinement on the whole is very very good. Build quality as well is a standout, nothing shakes about or rattles on a rough road. It’s been a long time since I was in a Kia and I am astonished at how damn good they have become. On the tech front, the Sorento performs excellently as well. The infotainment screen is big and bold, works almost as quickly as a smartphone! The user interface is just beautiful as well and it has some quirks there! One of which is the 12 speaker Bose audio system which includes ambient noises- you can choose from a bustling cafe, rainforest, birds chirping and so on. It’s the kind of quirk that you don’t really see in modern cars so good on you, Kia! The digital dashboard is another well laid out feature as well. It displays all the vital information and everything is presented in a beautiful shade of purple/blue. Another cool feature is when you hit the indicator, it actives a camera under the mirror which is then displayed on the dash and helps you monitor your blind spots.

That is just one of a host of safety features which includes stuff like lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, parking collision assist and so on. I almost forgot, it will park itself at the touch of a button as well!

Third row of seats in the Sorento
Sorento’s third row is very usable

On the inside and out, the 2021 Kia Sorento has proven to be a luxurious and comfortable car. The driving experience reflects a similar ethos as well. The 2.2 litre turbo diesel pulls well and without fuss either. With 148kW and 440Nm on tap, it doesn’t make a big racket! The engine and gearbox combination is standard across the range and so they should be. That 8 speed wet dual clutch unit is quick to shift and makes sure you always have power at your alloy pedals. The suspension is comfortable and ensures this large Kia glides over bumps on the road. That benefits everyone on the interior because the third row of seats is very usable as well! 

A rear view of the Kia Sorento
The Sorento is incredibly impressive

The Verdict

It all boils down to this then. Is the 2021 Kia Sorento any good or is it overpriced and rubbish? Good is probably an understatement because it is brilliant. The Sorento is now properly premium both inside and out. Sporting the kind of chrome and leather that you would only see on the posh stuff. Not to mention build quality that could give the Germans a run for their money. The new Sorento is a faultless car with character, something that’s missing in the sea of beige SUVs.

2021 Kia Sorento Premium

Styling- 4.5/5 Build quality- 5/5
Interior- 5/5 Performance- 4.5/5

Matt’s Merit Scale- 5/5

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